By Emily Hecker
Student journalists. Sometimes this two-word moniker results in refused interviews or unreturned emails, like Meagan described. As student journalists, we have to prepare ourselves for rejection. Quite a few people have no qualms
about slamming the proverbial door in a student journalist’s face.
Are we student journalists rebuffed simply because people don’t take us seriously? If so, how will we ever be able to get interviews with people other than our fellow students? The answer is simple: keep trying.
Recently, I have been working on two articles for the honors magazine. Some of my interview efforts were futile, resulting in unanswered emails dangling in cyberspace. I anticipated this result and had not gotten my hopes up. I did not anticipate that anyone from the Iowa State Historical Society or the Living History Farms would reply.
Imagine my surprise when someone from both of those establishments returned my emails. I had written these contacts off as long shots, but they were willing to answer my questions. Thank goodness I was seated when I read the email from the historical society’s curator that said he would grant me a phone interview.
Lesson learned: you just never know when an interview subject will come through for a student journalist. If I hadn’t bothered to contact a few long shots, I would not have gained several wonderful quotes to beef up my article.
It is never a guarantee that everyone you want to interview will reply, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If we want other people to take us seriously as student journalists, we have to take ourselves seriously first.
So, how do you get people to take you seriously as a student journalist? What successes (or failures) have you had when trying to get interviews?